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J Adolesc Health. 2019 Nov 25. pii: S1054-139X(19)30506-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.10.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Protecting Youth From the Risks of Electronic Cigarettes.

Abstract

The rapid increase in e-cigarette use among adolescents and young adults has led to drastic changes in patterns of nicotine consumption worldwide. The use of e-cigarettes, many of which contain high levels of nicotine, is especially harmful in this age group and is associated with increased use of cigarettes and other substances among youth. While the risks of short- and long-term e-cigarette use and secondhand aerosol exposure remain only partially understood, e-cigarettes should not be recommended for smoking cessation for youth in any circumstances given the lack of evidence for effectiveness and potential harmful physical and mental health effects. The perceptions of low e-cigarette risk of adolescents and young adults combined with few market regulations and the appeal of youth-friendly flavors, have created ideal conditions for the e-cigarette industry to thrive and place millions of youth at risk of developing an addiction to nicotine. Policies and regulations aiming to prevent youth-directed marketing and sales of e-cigarette and all nicotine delivery products are needed to protect young people. Public health-led education campaigns and educational curricula are also needed to help inform youth and families about the risks of e-cigarette use. While more research is required to determine the best ways to help youth quit e-cigarette use, adolescent health providers can play a key role in screening and counseling youth about e-cigarette use and should be adequately trained and supported to care for youth with e-cigarette addiction.

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